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Parliamentary Panel on Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill 2023

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


Source: HT

 Context: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has backed the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill 2023.


About the Bill:

  • It was introduced in the Lok Sabha (March 2023) and was referred to the Standing Committee on Defence by the Speaker.
  • It seeks to empower the Union government to –
    • Notify the setting up of inter-services organisations, including joint services commands, and
    • Give powers to heads of such organisations to act against personnel from any of the three services to ensure discipline and effective discharge of duties.

Salient features of the Bill:

  • Inter-services Organisation (ISO):
    • The central government may constitute a Joint Services Command.
    • Existing ISOs (A&N Command, Defence Space Agency, NDA) will be deemed to have been constituted under the Bill.
  • Superintendence and Command/Control of ISOs:
    • The superintendence of an ISO will be vested in the central government.
    • While command and control over the personnel serving in or attached to such an Organisation will be vested in the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of an ISO.
  • Eligibility to be appointed as the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command:
    • A General Officer of the regular Army (above the rank of Brigadier),
    • A Flag Officer of the Navy (rank of Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral, Vice-Admiral, or Rear-Admiral), or
    • An Air Officer of the Air Force (above the rank of group captain).
  • Commanding Officer: A Commanding Officer –
    • Will be in command of a unit, ship, or establishment and perform duties assigned by the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of the ISO.
    • Will be empowered to initiate all disciplinary or administrative actions over the personnel appointed, deputed, posted, or attached to that ISO.


Significance of the Bill: The bill is crucial because theaterisation, a long-overdue military reform that will make the best use of the military’s resources to fight future wars, is currently under debate.


Problems in the current system:

  • The personnel in an ISO are currently governed by the respective laws of the three services – the Army Act 1950, the Air Force Act 1950, and the Navy Act 1957.
  • When it comes to tri-services matters, the current legal framework has its limitations because officials from one service are not permitted to exert disciplinary/ administrative actions over members of another service.
  • For instance, a three-star general heading a joint command cannot act against air force or navy personnel serving under him.
  • As a consequence, the personnel serving in ISOs need to be reverted to their parent service units for any disciplinary/ administrative action.
  • This is not only time-consuming but also has financial implications relating to the movement of the personnel.


The panel’s recommendations:

  • The bill be passed without any amendments and be enacted as a statute to promote tri-services integration and jointmanship in ISOs.
  • The proposed law will improve the functioning of ISOs as they will be able to work with greater independence.
  • The bill will enable expeditious disposal of cases, thereby affecting the standard of discipline.


Insta Links:

Theatre commands


Mains Links:

What are Integrated Theatre Commands? Discuss the prospects and challenges faced in the implementation of integrated theatre commands for India. (250 words)